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1989 The Berlin Wall: My Part In Its Downfall

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  192 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
Capturing the zeitgeist of the Soviet era, journalist Peter Millar recounts his experiences reporting on the collapse of the Berlin Wall, when he was trapped in Checkpoint Charlie between bemused East German border guards and drunk Western revelers prematurely celebrating the end of an era. Having lived in East Berlin and even Moscow, Millar took a wild journey into the he ...more
Paperback, 220 pages
Published April 1st 2010 by Arcadia Books (first published October 1st 2009)
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Sep 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
A rather light-hearted account of a journalist's life behind the Iron Curtain before the Wall came down. You feel that there could be a hefty, scholarly history about the Cold War written by this author, but unfortunately - or fortunately - he went down the pub instead of writing it and wrote this instead. Journalists wear their scholastic abilities lightly (until the day they become a news anchor when they seem desperate to inform everyone of what a serious investigative journalist they are) an ...more
Clare Harvey
Jun 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great insights and v. readable style.
Jan 04, 2016 rated it it was ok
A bit of a fluff piece about the waning days of the Cold War in the 1980s. Has a bit of Ostalgie (nostalgia for East Germany), and lots of gonzo gonzo journalism, where the author is very much the protagonist. This is normally fine - except I didn't particularly like Peter Millar's good ol' boy Oxbridge nostalgia about a time when journalists were hard-drinking hacks, cynical and educated and macho blech. There is a moment when one journalist is described as seeking assistants in young "Oxbridge ...more
Jan 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, read-2017
The Berlin Wall was built in 1961, the year my mother was born, and both my parents grew up in the GDR. While I'm too young to actually remember much about it (a few months shy of my 3rd birthday in November 1989), I too was born there, and whenever I read a book like this it reminds me of how very different my life today would be if the wall hadn't come down when it did. Working as a foreign correspondent in Berlin and Moscow throughout the 80s, Peter Millar witnessed both life in the GDR and U ...more
Christine Parkinson
Apr 02, 2015 rated it liked it
I did enjoy this book. It gave a good insight into what life was like in Germany living with the Berlin wall and also when the wall came down. I did find that it had quite a lot of political references which are necessary due to the nature of the story but which I found a bit much for my personal taste. This is not a slight on the book and the 3 stars is not as much a reflection on the book but my personal enjoyment.
Philip Whiteland
Walls Have Eyes

An excellent story, as would be expected from a journalist with Mr. Millar's experience. The story of how the Berlin Wall came to be, what it was like for those living in its shadow and how it came to fall, is enough in itself, but we also get snapshots of the fall of the other Eastern Bloc states as well as an insight into the world of journalism and newspapers in the 1980s. A terrific read, strongly recommended.
Allan Shepherd
Sep 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
A fantastic book from a unique perspective about the human face of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The author manages to explain the end of the Cold War, as nations fall around him. Hidden within the pages are real human stories about families separated based on Post Code boundaries. I really recommend this book to others, the Author has a really enjoyable writing style based on his career as a journalist for Reuters, The Sunday Telegraph and The Sunday Times.
David Canford
Apr 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Having visited Berlin recently and experienced the intriguing place it is I wanted to read about what it was like before the wall came down - when two very different systems lived side by side but didn't interact. This book provides a fascinating account of what it was like and the Alice in Wonderland logic of the communist regime. An excellent account of a pivotal moment in our recent history; the miracle of freedom triumphing over oppression.
Oct 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, non-fiction
I heard him read from this book recently, and he is an entertaining speaker and writer. This covered his years as a reporter for Reuters and later the Sunday Telegraph and Times. He was based in East Berlin, Warsaw and Moscow during the 80's and indeed made it back to Berlin on the evening the wall came down. An intriguing and very readable account of a tumultuous year and journalists treading a line between fact and fiction.
Nov 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
I read it just before I visited Berlin for the first time in my life. It provided a wonderful and personal account of life behind the Iron curtain while at the same time highlighting the import political events during the cold war period that had an effect on the Berlin walls collapse. Would recommend it to anyone planning to visit Berlin.
Jun 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
I can't believe it's been over a quarter century since the Berlin Wall came down. Millar has written an excellent memoir about his life as a journalist in Eastern Europe in the decade leading up to 1989. Essential reading for a glimpse of everyday life east of the wall
Phil Truslove
Feb 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
An excellent read!
Mar 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Insightful and at times amusing insight into life is East Berlin and the fall of the wall from journalist Peter Miller.
Catherine Mullarky
Dec 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
I love Berlin. This is a fascinating read.
Jan 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Strangely captivating.
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Peter Millar is an award-winning British journalist, author and translator, and has been a correspondent for Reuters, Sunday Times and Sunday Telegraph. He was named Foreign Correspondent of the Year for his reporting on the dying stages of the Cold War, his account of which – 1989: The Berlin Wall, My Part in its Downfall – was named ‘best read’ by The Economist. An inveterate wanderer since his ...more
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